A bellhop passed through the hall of the St. Francis Hotel whistling loudly.
"Young man," said Manager Woods sternly, "you should know that it is against the rules of this hotel for an employee to whistle while on duty."
"I am not whistling, sir," replied the boy, "I'm paging Mrs. Jones's dog."
"You say that you want some name engraved on this ring," said the jeweler to the bashful young man.
"Yes; I want the words, 'George, to his dearest Alice' engraved on the inside of the ring."
"Is the young lady your sister?"
"No; she is the young lady to whom I am engaged."
"Well, if I were you I would not have 'George, to his dearest Alice' engraved on the ring. If Alice changes her mind you can't use the ring again."
"What would you suggest?"
"I would suggest the words, 'George, to his first and only love,' You see, with that inscription you can use the ring half a dozen times. I have had experience in such matters myself."
His face was pinched and drawn. With faltering footsteps he wended his way among the bustling Christmas crowd.
"Kind sir," he suddenly exclaimed, "will you not give me a loaf of bread for my wife and little ones?" The stranger regarded him not unkindly.
"Far be it from me," he rejoined, "to take advantage of your destitution. Keep your wife and little ones; I do not want them."
At one time in his varied career Mark Twain was not only poor, but he did not make a practice of associating with millionaires. The paragraph which follows is taken from an open letter to Commodore Vanderbilt. One paragraph of the "Open Letter" is worth embalming here:
Poor Vanderbilt! How I pity you: and this is honest. You are an old man, and ought to have some rest, and yet you have to struggle, and deny yourself, and rob yourself of restful sleep and peace of mind, because you need money so badly. I always feel for a man who is so poverty ridden as you. Don't misunderstand me, Vanderbilt. I know you own seventy millions: but then you know and I know that it isn't what man has that constitutes wealth. No--it is to be satisfied with what one has; that is wealth. As long as one sorely needs a certain additional amount, that man isn't rich. Seventy times seventy millions can't make him rich, as long as his poor heart is breaking for more. I am just about rich enough to buy the least valuable horse in your stable, perhaps, but I cannot sincerely and honestly take an oath that I need any more now. And so I am rich. But you, you have got seventy millions and you need five hundred millions, and are really suffering for it. Your poverty is something appalling. I tell you truly that I do not believe I could live twenty-four hours with the awful weight of four hundred and thirty millions of abject want crushing down upon me. I should die under it. My soul is so wrought upon by your helpless pauperism that if you came to me now, I would freely put ten cents in your tin cup, if you carry one, and say, "God pity you, poor unfortunate."
H.M. Perley wrote the following regarding owning a home:
How did we do it? Simply by going without everything we needed. When I was first married my salary was thirty dollars a month.
My mother-in-law, who lived with us, decided to save enough out of my salary to build us a home.
When the cellar was finished, I became ill and lost my position, and had to mortgage the cellar to make my first payment.
Although we went without food for thirty days the first year, we never missed a monthly payment.
The taxes, interest on mortgage, and monthly payment on house were now three times the amount of my earnings.
However, by dispensing with the service of a doctor, we lost our father and mother-in-law, which so reduced our expenses that we were able to pay for the parlor floor and windows.
In ten years seven of our nine children died, possibly owing to our diet of excelsior and prunes.
I only mention these little things to show how we were helped in saving for a home.
I wore the same overcoat for fifteen years, and was then able to build the front porch, which you see at the right of the front door.
Now, at the age of eighty-seven, my wife and I feel sure we can own our comfortable little home in about ten years and live a few weeks to enjoy it.
"May I ask the cause of all this excitement?" asked the stranger in the little village.
"Certainly," replied the countryman. "We're celebrating the birthday of the oldest inhabitant sir. She's a hundred and one to-day."
"Indeed! And may I ask who is that little man, with the dreadfully sad countenance, walking by the old lady's side?"
"Oh, that's the old lady's son-in-law, sir. He's been keeping up the payments on her life-insurance for the last thirty years!"
Alderman Curran, of New York City, worked his way through Yale College. During his course he was kept very busy by the various jobs he did to help with his expenses. On graduation he went to New York, and was even busier than he had been in New Haven.
After some months of life in New York, a friend met him and said,"Henry, what are you doing?"
"I have three jobs," replied Mr. Curran, "I am studying law, I am a newspaper reporter, and I am selling life insurance."
"How do you manage to get it all in?" said the friend.
"Oh," replied Mr Curran, "that's easy enough. They're only eight-hour jobs."
A gentleman from Vermont was traveling west in a Pullman when a group of men from Topeka, Kansas, boarded the train and began to praise their city to the Vermonter, telling him of the wide streets and beautiful avenues. Finally the Vermonter became tired and said the only thing that would improve their city would be to make it a seaport.
The enthusiastic Westerners laughed at him and asked how they could make it a seaport being so far from the ocean.
The Vermonter replied that it would be a very easy task.
"The only thing that you will have to do," said he, "is to lay a two-inch pipe from your city to the Gulf of Mexico. Then if you fellows can suck as hard as you can blow you will have it a seaport inside half an hour."
"Did you hear about the defacement of Mr. Skinner's tombstone?" asked Mr. Brown a few days after the funeral of that eminent captain of industry.
"No, what was it?" inquired his neighbor curiously.
"Someone added the word 'friends' to the epitaph."
"What was the epitaph?"
"'He did his best.'"
An Irish soldier had lost an eye in battle, but was allowed to continue in the service on consenting to have a glass eye in its place. One day, however, he appeared on parade without his artificial eye.
"Nolan," said the officer, "you are not properly dressed. Why is your artificial eye not in its place?"
"Sure, sir," replied Nolan, "I left it in me box to keep an eye on me kit while I'm on parade."
Among the passengers on a train on a one-track road in the Middle West was a talkative jewelry drummer. Presently the train stopped to take on water, and the conductor neglected to send back a flagman. An express came along and, before it could be stopped, bumped the rear end of the first train. The drummer was lifted from his seat and pitched head first into the seat ahead. His silk hat was jammed clear down over his ears. He picked himself up and settled back in his seat. No bones had been broken. He drew a long breath, straightened up, and said: "Well, they didn't get by us, anyway."
This is the way the agent got a lesson in manners. He called at a business office, and saw nobody but a prepossessing though capable-appearing young woman.
"Where's the boss?" he asked abruptly.
"What is your business?" she asked politely.
"None of yours!" he snapped. "I got a proposition to lay before this firm, and I want to talk to somebody about it."
"And you would rather talk to a gentleman?"
"Well," answered the lady, smiling sweetly, "so would I. But it seems that it's impossible for either one of us to have our wish, so we'll have to make the best of it. State your business, please!"
When Paderewski was on his last visit to America he was in a Boston suburb, when he was approached by a bootblack who called:
The great pianist looked down at the youth whose face was streaked with grime and said:
"No, my lad, but if you will wash your face I will give you a quarter."
"All right!" exclaimed the youth, who forthwith ran to a neighboring trough and made his ablutions.
When he returned Paderewski held out the quarter, which the boy took but immediately handed back, saying:
"Here, Mister, you take it yourself and get your hair cut."
The father of a certain charming girl is well known in this town as "a very tight old gentleman." When dad recently received a young man, who for some time had been "paying attention" to the daughter, it was the old gentleman who made the first observation:
"Huh! So you want to marry my daughter, eh?"
"Yes, sir; very much, indeed."
"Um--let me see. Can you support her in the style to which she has been accustomed?"
"I can, sir," said the young man, "but I am not mean enough to do it."
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